State Auditor Nicole Galloway says former Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden’s office submitted false information to the state to give a no-bid contract to an organization Juden previously headed. In an audit released today, Galloway says the $58,000 agreement between the state and the Missouri Police Chiefs Charitable Foundation was for fingerprinting technology at local police departments. The auditor says Juden’s office provided fabricated details to the Office of Administration about the nature of the funding and his past work at the organization.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol handled the fingerprinting service free of charge, but when it came time to renew the contract, Juden’s office did not contact the Patrol.
Additionally, the Department of Public Safety paid roughly $1.25 million to the foundation for equipment needed. Five to six months later, the equipment was delivered to local law enforcement offices, resulting in a benefit to the organization and about $16,000 in lost interest revenue to the state. Galloway says it’s believed the early payment was designed to prevent the appropriation from going unspent during the 2018 fiscal year.
“Missourians should have confidence their tax dollars are being used appropriately and that contracts are awarded in a way that gets the very best return on their investment. No one should think they are above those rules,” Galloway said in a press release. “That’s why it’s so troubling that this audit uncovered deliberate actions to try to sidestep these policies.”
The audit also questions Juden’s leave time. Galloway, a Democrat, says Juden did not claim any annual leave, despite the appearance of taking multiple vacations, allegedly including working days when he was in Florida.
Former Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, chose Juden to lead the department. In an exclusive interview earlier this month by Cape Girardeau television station KFVS, Greitens defended Juden’s activities and called Juden “one of the best people I know”. Greitens said during the time period in question, Juden was in a command post for 30 consecutive days to oversee law enforcement’s role in St. Louis protests against former police Jason Stockley’s court case decision.
Juden described the audit as a “targeted attack on his reputation”.
The audit was done at the request of current Gov. Mike Parson, a fellow Republican, after an internal review of Juden’s agency was done. Parson fired Juden in November 2018.
The complete audit can be found here.
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